Protesilaus

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In Greek mythology, Protesilaus (Ancient Greek: Πρωτεσίλαος, Protesilaos), was a hero in the Iliad who was venerated at cult sites in Thessaly and Thrace. Protesilaus was the son of Iphicles, a "lord of many sheep"; as grandson of the eponymous Phylacos, he was the leader of the Phylaceans.[1] Hyginus surmised[2] that he was originally known as Iolaus,[3] but was referred to as Protesilaus after being the first (πρῶτος, protos) to die at Troy.

Contents

Background

Protesilaus was one of the suitors of Helen.[4] He brought forty black ships with him to Troy,[5] drawing his men from flowering Pyrasus, coastal Antron and Pteleus, "deep in grass", in addition to his native Phylace. Protesilaus was the first to land: "the first man who dared to leap ashore when the Greek fleet touched the Troad, Pausanias recalled, quoting "the author of the epic called the Cypria".[6] An oracle had prophesied that the first Greek to walk on the land after stepping off a ship in the Trojan War would be the first to die,[2] and so, after killing four men,[7] he was himself slain by Hector. After Protesilaus' death, his brother, Podarces, joined the war in his place.[8] The gods had pity on his widow, Laodamia, daughter of Acastus, and brought him up from Hades to see her. Another source claims his wife was Polydora, daughter of Meleager.[9] She was at first overjoyed, thinking he had returned from Troy, but after the gods returned him to the underworld, she found the loss unbearable.[10] She had a bronze statue of her late husband constructed, and devoted herself to it. After her worried father had witnessed her behavior, he had it destroyed; however, Laodamia jumped into the fire with it.[11]

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